You can never underestimate the value of headlines on the internet. Research has shown how the headline is the biggest factor in determining the popularity of a social media post. With the attention span of humans reduced enormously, it’s the headline that has to grab the attention of the reader and pique his interest, only then would he look at the content.
So, how much your blog post or online article succeeds depends almost entirely on your headline. Here, then are some tips to produce successful headlines on social media.
Use question-based headline
Headlines that begin with ‘Why’ or ‘What is’ are among the popular headlines on social media. This is because these headlines promise to increase your knowledge by providing answers to a particular question. Especially, headlines that ask questions on a topic that’s trending tend to be successful headlines on social media.
Headlines that promise to teach something new
Most people around the world don’t mind learning something new. Hence, successful headlines on social media often start with ‘How to.’ It promises to teach the reader a new skill, hence provides a tangible benefit. Even headlines that don’t specifically use the words ‘How to’ but still promise to teach the reader a new skill are among popular headlines on social media.
Numbers sell a lot
Successful headlines on social media increase the reader’s interest is by using numbers at the beginning. This is why so many of them are in the pattern of ’10 reasons why’ or ‘5 ways in which.’ Humans are programmed to prefer certainty and a number provides that. The reader has a better idea of the amount of information he is going to get. Research has shown that headlines with numbers are most successful among popular headlines on social media.
Myth-busters are very popular
Another type of successful headlines on social media are those that grab the attention of the reader is one that promises to bust a common myth. For instance, a headline that says, ‘5 biggest myths about weight loss’ immediately piques the interest of the reader as it promises to not just inform you of something new but also remove a misperception that has gained ground over the years. These headlines are prominent among popular headlines on social media.
Negativity leaves a positive impression
This sounds odd but is extremely true. Successful headlines on social media often have negative adverbs like ‘Don’t’ or ‘Stop.’ These make a bigger impression upon the reader and generate greater interest. Compared to this, headlines with positive commands, for instance, ‘You should,’ are less likely to hold on to a reader. Overall, the negative headlines perform 63% better than positive ones and are among the popular headlines on social media. It could be that negativity is more persuasive or that it is likely to appeal to our insecurities. Whatever the reason, it tends to work on the net.
Use surprise to lure surfers
Nobody minds a good surprise and this extends to our behavior towards headlines also. To surprise the reader, choose headlines that are extremely vague and in no way easily relatable to the subject. The reader would like to clear this mystery and would have to delve into the content for that purpose. This achieves that one big result that all headlines require: getting the reader to see and read the content. This is why the surprise factor is present among popular headlines on social media.
Make the reader more curious
Curiosity killed the cat. But it helps humans to become more knowledgeable. This is why successful headlines on social media prep up the curiosity of the reader. This gives them a greater chance of generating an emotional response from the reader.
So, how do you make the reader more curious? The most common method is to give partial information and then promise to reveal more in the main content. Headlines of this kind often use the sentence – ‘you won’t believe what happens next.’ You can use a picture with this statement or write the context. Once the reader gets partial information and expects something interesting to happen next, his curiosity would lead him to read on and your goal would be accomplished.
There are a few additional things to keep in mind while preparing a headline. The nature of it should also depend upon the social media platform you are using. What works on Twitter may not work on Facebook. So, the nature of popular headlines on social media depends upon the domain. Also, be clear in your mind about the target audience you have. Without a clear idea on this front, you would be shooting in the dark.
With the above information loaded into your brain, you should be able to craft successful headlines on social media.